One of my favorite private consultations of all time involved a family who came to me, scared and sad, because they were worried about the way their beloved Golden Retriever was acting toward their two-month-old baby. Though the dog had been a total angel for more than four years, they were afraid they would have to rehome, or perhaps even euthanize, him: “He’s gotten aggressive and is showing his teeth to our daughter.”
I braced myself for an emotional session. In the work I do, it’s critically important for me be honest with my clients, particularly when a child’s safety is involved. Sometimes management and training are enough, but with a newborn—or really, children of any age—in the house, there can be no mistakes or management failures. A gate that isn’t latched or a door that isn’t shut can easily happen to anyone (especially to sleep-deprived new parents), but such lapses can have serious consequences.